Aquaria - Luxaeterna
Symphonic Power Metal
10 songs (66:27)
Release year: 2005
Reviewed by Kyle
Archive review

If the current symphonic power metal scene has been boring you and you’re itching to get your hands on Angra’s forthcoming album (I fall into both of these categories), then Aquaria’s sorely overlooked debut Luxaeterna is practically calling your name. A Brazilian sextet that specializes in complex and incredibly melodic power metal, they draw their influences from a wide variety of power metal bands (most notably Angra and Rhapsody of Fire) and classical music, but because the symphonic bits are so richly composed and the melodies so gorgeous, Aquaria avoids sounding like any other band in their category. Symphonic metal has been devoid of originality for quite a while, at least to my ears; if you feel the same way, then Luxaeterna should be one of the most refreshing metal albums to come along in quite awhile, if you have yet to discover this band that is.

Aquaria is the epitome of everything over-the-top in power metal; the orchestrations here are layered and bombastic on a level that is only matched in metal when an actual orchestra is used. The keyboard effects are nothing short of state-of-the-art; While some bands such as Bal-Sagoth use artificial symphonic elements in a way that’s corny and obviously fake, at times it’s easy to forget that Aquaria doesn’t HAVE an actual symphony at their disposal. The level at which Aquaria relies on keyboards is just ludicrous - without them, Luxaeterna would be a rather bland album – but the compositions are so detailed and joyous in nature that you’ll be able to love this album from the very first moments. But keep in mind; if you don’t like symphonic metal, then you will hate this, as it is the ultimate in flower metal.

So now that I’ve emphasized just how incredibly symphonic Luxaeterna is, let’s move onto the songs themselves and explore what else lies within Aquaria’s dense sound. The album begins with a short and unfortunately skip-able intro, but immediately after you’re pulled into the music with And Let the Show Begin. The guitars and drums blaze onwards at full blast, conveying a sense of speed for the keyboards and vocals to weave around; the melodies from both are impeccably crafted, and vocalist Vitor Veiga shows right away that he’s a perfect fit for the band, with an excellent vibrato and impossible range. Later in the song we’re treated to various tempo changes that express a surprisingly progressive side of the band; it’s not complex on a level with, say, Dream Theater, but because the progressive elements are carried on throughout the album, a good sense of technicality is added to an already impressive collection of power metal. Also throughout the course of Luxaeterna are obvious traces of Brazilian folk music, which is most evident in the song Spirit of Light, a track that probably wouldn’t seem too terribly out of place on Angra’s Holy Land album.

As far as the best songs go, well, all are great! Aquaria is a much more diverse band than you’d think after hearing the first proper track, and each song is different from the next; Here Comes the Life is one of my favorites, and shows that the band knows how to make songs flow incredibly well, as it begins as a soft ballad but changes tempo and style throughout, eventually becoming a bombastic power metal track near the end. The main melody from the ballad section in the beginning is carried on throughout the track, showing that Aquaria also knows how to utilize themes to their advantage. Other highlights on Luxaeterna include the mystical ballad Whispers and Pain of Mother Nature, the intense epic Judgment Day, and the ridiculously happy Your Majesty Gaia, the song that drew me to Aquaria in the first place. In every song the band tells tales of optimistic fantasy, often having to do with nature; fitting, as the melodies feel magical, but in a way that is totally natural.

Normally when I’m finished with a review, I grow tired of the album in question because I’ve listened to it often in order to prepare for its review, and subsequently taxed my brain in thinking of things to say about it. But seven hundred words into my analysis of Luxaeterna and I still want to play it over again, experience all the wonder it has to offer, even all these listens later. If you like melodic power metal, it should be very difficult for you to not love this album, and although the guitars could use a bit more originality instead of letting the keyboards take care of all the melodies (a problem that was mended on the follow-up to Luxaeterna, but that is a review for another day), the music is so incredibly detailed and catchy that it’s almost painful to criticize it. Just listen to And Let the Show Begin on Youtube, and if you’re sold after the first twenty seconds or so, then Luxaeterna should be a very safe purchase for you. Highly, HIGHLY recommended!

Killing Songs :
All, especially And Let the Show Begin, Here Comes the Life, Whispers and Pain of Mother Nature, Judgment Day, and Your Majesty Gaia
Kyle quoted 95 / 100
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